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  3.7. Principle 2: Get Out of the Building and Into the Field (5 min.)

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When we think of a laboratory, what usually comes to mind is an orderly, sterilized place where expert scientists conduct experiments. A quick tour of many corporate headquarters turns up many similarities to a laboratory - most office buildings are clean, air-conditioned, and optimized for work. And not surprisingly, most work is performed inside the building - in offices and cubicles, or on factory floors. As a result, when most entrepreneurs want to start a business, they find an office, even if it's in their basement, and start building away.

But the Nail It Then Scale It laboratory is not a quiet, private office where the entrepreneur can work uninterrupted! It is the complete opposite. Instead, the laboratory is outside the building (i.e., in the field) where you can get out among your customers. Getting outside the building, outside the company, even outside your circle of friends, is crucial because by fact of our human nature we gradually become absolutely convinced that we understand the outside world when in fact we do not.

Our understanding of the world is at best a representation, simplified so that we can process it. Having a slightly inaccurate understanding of the world may not matter in some areas of everyday life. However, in entrepreneurship, inaccuracies can mean the difference between success and failure. It is only when we stop, get out of our comfort zone, get outside, and start talking to customers, suppliers and competitors that we begin to understand what the world is really like. For every entrepreneur we have ever worked with, the results of getting into the field are always surprising.

(See Nail It Then Scale It, pgs. 37-40)